Holo en Provence
Bonjour, ah the south of France! It feels like god has decided to press the fast forward button a bit, I cant believe how our holidays in Bali, Singapore and Japan as gone by quickly. I can still remember as if it was yesterday I was finishing up at work and spending a sleepless night doing my suitcase (which is not advisable!). Anyway as much as I cant control time, I would like to welcome you to our Europe trip its a shame Wibi is not with Kelsey and I but I know my dad will fill in well just like he did during my trip on the Great Wall of China. To tell you the truth the trip to France was tiresome, Kelsey and I actually arrived in London first from Singapore given its where my parents are staying, however our stay was short very short since only the next day we all went down to the South of France. I wasnt keen at first to do the trip given that the intention of it was because my dad was going to attend the ILTM – International Luxury Travel Market held in Cannes but since my sister and I havent seen my dad’s side of the family in years, We just had too.
Going back to Project Holo, again given this trip was more family oriented I wasnt sure whether to bring Holo plus I dont want to sound like a moaner but I wasnt bothered at that time.. Ima so tired! but after some thought its not like Ill be going back to the South of France any time soon after that trip and a few pictures wouldnt kill plus why not show you a few shots of Provence known to be one of the most beautiful area in France.. So holo tagged along for our 10 days trip! Our flight from gatwick was early like 7:30am and the flight was thank god not very long, around 2 hours max. Arrived in Nice airport with the weather being quite sunny and thus we then started our journey to Cannes. I was looking forward to it since I was also going to attend ILMT with my dad, however that’s when it all went downhill, after setting up our booth the whole day. I got extremely sick the following, was vomiting all over the place and it felt like my stomach was committing suicide, In short I had a similar case to food poisoning but the difference was that my stomach kinda like got sick from all the typical french food being rich and heavy which im not use to it. So I had to spend the rest of my Cannes days in the hotel room, in bed.. how nice of a start to my France holiday and because of that palava I wasnt able to do Project Holo in Cannes :(
Holo au Port de La Londe
When I got better It was time to head over to our next and first usual stop in Provence which is a small commune in the Var department called La Londe-les-Maures. The place im sure is not known to those outside Europe and is one of the places where I use to visit for my summer holidays when I was a kid. La Londe is known for its beaches and Port where many tourist and locals can rent boats and transport to other holiday islands of Porquerolles. Our intentions was to visit the first batch (lol) of our family who lives there and stay for around 2 days. Although I must say that this place is not related to the real purpose of Project Holo concerning Landmarks, We just decided that It would be nice to show you the place like I mentioned before (lets say its a filler episode ^^) – head over here for more in-depth information about Project Holo. Kelsey, my dad and I decided to walk around the port to take a few photos and It was literally dead, no one in sight well it is kinda the off season given it was the beginning of December in the middle of winter. So ye very wise to go out on a boat unless you want to fight the wind and swim in freezing cold water as if you were in Iceland or something. Its a typical Mediterranean port with a mixture of boats ranging from speedboats, catamaran, cruise ships and fishing boats all aligned next to each other.
Holo au Vineyard de Provence
We all know of Holo’s fondness of wine and thus would be imperative to introduce her to one of the cultural aspects of this country. The beauty, serenity, and production of wine in the wine regions of France are not only insurmountable, but they are indescribable. The inspiring landscapes and vast rows of grape vines are something that everyone should experience in their life.
A vineyard is often characterised by its terroir, a French term loosely translating as “a sense of place” that refers to the specific geographical and geological characteristics of grapevine plantations, which may be imparted in the wine. In the region we were located called Provence, it is known for producing excellent rosé wines. In fact half of all rosé wines produced in the French wine regions comes from Provence. Red wine is also a popular. Van Gogh and Cezanne visited this area of France frequently to capture the beauty of Provence in their paintings. And it’s not surprising. During certain times of the year, the region is blanketed with colourful red poppy fields and purple lavender.
There are literally thousands of vineyards to choose from in Provence. By visiting a few of them, you can get a great overview of what the region has to offer. We stopped by one of the closest vineyards to where we were staying owned by le Chateau le Bastidon which my dad has been a customer for more than 15 years. It was a chilly late afternoon where the sun was slowly starting to say its goodnights. We headed deep into the vineyards and as we were surrounded, it was the perfect photo opportunity.
Holo a Cotignac
Our final stop on our mini trip is at a small Medieval village of Cotignac, tucked away in the trees at the base of its famous cliffs on southern part of Provence.
This is where most of our relatives are from like my dad and live, The funny thing is that the countless of times I visited Cotignac I completely disregarded its history well mind you I was young and innocent enjoying my holidays lol However now that Im older and pretty much into history I was quite taken aback by Cotignac’s history, The cliffs which I thought was just like any other cliff are actually known as troglodytes that dominates the village was essential to Cotignac’s protection and its existence. They are formed of tufa, a porous, calcium rock that’s full of holes and caves. Those caves have been used as shelter and refuge since before recorded history, through invasions and epidemics, and through political wars and religious wars. Houses from as early as the 12th and 13th century were then built into the cliffs, and through time expanded to the lower surroundings which are still in use today. There is also at the top of the cliffs, a pair of square, medieval towers (the “sentinelles”) that have been standing guard over the cliffs, the town and the surrounding countryside since those early 12th and 13th century days.
Its amazing and come to think of it, this place had a fitting role for Project Holo especially regarding Holo and the its series Spice and Wolf because the setting is also in Medieval times. While walking through the village, visitors will encounter old quarters set next to the cliff, houses of the l2th and 13th centuries, stone or wrought iron decorations, narrow streets, a waterfall in the background and many more, all witnesses to the long and interesting past of Cotignac. It gives this nostalgic feeling as if your in the world of the peddler Craft Lawrence and Holo the Wise Wolf of Yoitsu traveling through towns and villages buying and selling all kinds of things. It is a place of character and one to be definitely seen, We enjoyed our visit and Im pretty disappointed to have realised the history only know.
Overall our trip down South was with mix feelings, although I was sick for half of it, I still enjoyed being able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings Provence as to offer and not to forget seeing my relatives, who knows when we will see them again but hopefully there will be a next time. I hope you enjoyed Project Holo, the only nag which I forgot to mention is that during this trip I had to downgrade to a sony digital camera compared to my Panasonic GX1 as I lost it during my connecting flight in Singapore which seriously Im going to think twice about flying Singapore Airline, their customer service seriously was appalling. Anyway I wont dwell on the past. Now Ill be back in London, who knows what Project Holo will bring but make sure to keep an eye as the adventure definitely continues!
Till next time and a bientot!
Provence is in the south-east and close to the Mediterranean of France. The first location for Project Holo was La Londe-les-Maures, a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region in southeastern France. Similarly our second stop with the vineyards was shot just outside La Londe at the Chateau Le Bastidon who owned the vineyards and Finally the last stop Cotignac is situated in the interior of Var in the center of Provence and is about a 20 minute drive from the main Auto route that runs between Marseilles, Aix en Provence and Nice, giving easy access to St. Tropez, Cannes and Nice, which are just over one hour’s drive from Cotignac (easier way, 20 kilometers north of Brignoles).
Fabrice is a blogger, full time university student, web enthusiast and founder of Fateful Encounters.. This blog is his final haven when everything seems nuisances; urging him to assess and to share his thoughts and his own findings to the world, or at least to his fellow neighbors in the blog sphere.